Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria

Guardians of the Nation Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria In the decades leading up to World War I nationalist activists in imperial Austria labored to transform linguistically mixed rural regions into politically charged language frontiers They hoped to re

  • Title: Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria
  • Author: Pieter M. Judson
  • ISBN: 9780674023253
  • Page: 468
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the decades leading up to World War I, nationalist activists in imperial Austria labored to transform linguistically mixed rural regions into politically charged language frontiers They hoped to remake local populations into polarized peoples and their villages into focal points of the political conflict that dominated the Habsburg Empire But they often found bilingu In the decades leading up to World War I, nationalist activists in imperial Austria labored to transform linguistically mixed rural regions into politically charged language frontiers They hoped to remake local populations into polarized peoples and their villages into focal points of the political conflict that dominated the Habsburg Empire But they often found bilingual inhabitants accustomed to cultural mixing who were stubbornly indifferent to identifying with only one group Using examples from several regions, including Bohemia and Styria, Pieter Judson traces the struggle to consolidate the loyalty of local populations for nationalist causes Whether German, Czech, Italian, or Slovene, the nationalists faced similar and unexpected difficulties in their struggle to make nationalism relevant to local concerns and to bind people permanently to one side Judson examines the various strategies of the nationalist activists, from the founding of minority language schools to the importation of colonists from other regions, from projects to modernize rural economies to the creation of a tourism industry By 1914, they succeeded in projecting a public perception of nationalist frontiers, but largely failed to nationalize the populations Guardians of the Nation offers a provocative challenge to standard accounts of the march of nationalism in modern Europe 20070901

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    1 thought on “Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria”

    1. This is one of the more interesting books I read in graduate school, although I can’t recall ever citing it, seeing it cited, or discussing it once the class was over. This may be because Judson went a bit too far in his thesis – or it may just reflect my own tunnel-vision and selective reading since that time. Coming back to it now, I still find the evidence and conclusions provocative, and the writing clear and accessible, and I hope that Judson has continued to work along similar lines. W [...]

    2. The beautiful village in Alps on the cover reminds one of the place we holidayed in Austria most recently, in the greater Salzburg area, where the residents were generally united in declaring they were closer to Munich than Vienna in spirit, and one did wonder if the residents of the then Austria felt this way when Germany marched in. Vienna is and has generally been proud of her own identity, what with the imperial past and having been larger in Europe than France and Germany, but Austria is no [...]

    3. My own studies on nationalism in the Habsburg Monarchy focused on the way the military dealt with nationalism among its conscripts in the last half-century of the Monarchy, and Pieter Judson's "Guardians of the Nation" goes back a step further than my own doctoral research--- looking at how nationalism is first imported into provincial towns on the "language frontiers" of the Monarchy. Judson argues that nationalism was not "organic" in the rural world, where village identities were often fluid [...]

    4. An outstanding critical look at how stupid nationalism is as a paradigm for studying the past. Refusing to be taken in by nationalists' own arguments, Judson peeks into the "frontier" language zones of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire, "frontiers" which were hilariously made up by nationalists trying to push through their exclusivist agendas, whether from the left or right. Judson looks at a series of small towns in an arc south from Bohemia to the Tyrol and shows that mixed-language villages re [...]

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